At the time of my previous progress report, in May, I was at the twelve chapter / 30,000-word mark. I’m pleased to report that despite spending a lot of time watching matches in a sensational World Cup, I’ve managed to finish eighteen chapters. That clocks in at just under 50,000 words and represents half of book #2.
The reason that I’m so pleased with this figure is twofold. First up, I’ve stated on several occasions that autumn/winter is my main writing time, so to get so much done in spring/summer is a major achievement for me. Secondly, with the help of my youngest daughter Rachel, I’ve managed to edit the whole lot. I wouldn’t call this half of the book finished by any stretch, but it’s certainly more polished than a rough first draft, so let’s call it version 1.5. There are a few sections that I’m not 100% happy with and these parts will certainly need tinkering with. It’s an ambitious approach that I’ve taken with the second part of the trilogy, with multiple plotlines in progress and the main issue with this approach is how best to sequence the chapters. The question I keep asking myself is how long can I leave plot A alone while I develop plot B? Furthermore, there’s a question of keeping the character’s actions real: how long would they wait before taking action in one plot in order to go off and service my other plot? You’ve got to credit your readers with some intelligence and capacity to remember what happened four or five chapters ago, but nevertheless, I want to give the story the best chance to shine, so it all requires some thinking about.
My general aim is to get the first draft (or draft 1.5) finished by the end of the year, and then spend two or three months tightening things up. I’m aiming for somewhere between 85,000 and 90,000 words, so the fact that I’m already 50,000 words in will mean some trimming here and there as I aim to improve the presentation of some of the earlier chapters. As previously stated, I’ve got a humdinger of a closing sequence over the final quarter of the book, so I want to save plenty of words for this section!
In my last blog post, I talked about how 80% of the story would be seen from Lorna’s point of view, but as things have progressed, this is likely to be less due to the sheer amount of stuff going on in the third person plot. It’s a bit of a juggling act and finding the right blend will be the key to delivering the maximum impact with the revelations that are to come.
In other news, I’ve reached my target of twenty reviews of Monkey Arkwright on Amazon. This breaks down to ten in the UK, eight in the US, and one apiece in Canada and Australia. Finally, although my sales have stalled on 52, I was delighted to see a spike in my Kindle Unlimited page reads this month: 405 pages read, which I reckon equates to one person who’s read the whole thing, and another who gave it a go and then gave up after 16 pages! You can’t win ‘em all.